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Reports: Iran Publicly Hangs Man Convicted Of Rape, Murder Of Girl

World Press Photo Awards 2017 - Long-Term Projects - Second Prize - Hossein Fatemi, Panos Pictures - An Iranian Journey Serial killer Mohammad Bijeh, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering 21 people, most of them children, is hauled into the air ha

Iran has publicly hanged a man who was convicted of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, in a case that had outraged many Iranians.

The execution of 42-year-old Esmail Jafarzadeh was reportedly shown in an amateur video broadcast on state-controlled TV September 20.

Jafarzadeh was hanged at dawn in the main square of the northwestern town of Parsabad, in Ardebil province. Reports said “several thousand” people, including children, watched his hanging while many documented it on their cellphones.

The execution was held in public "to restore citizens' sense of security and relieve their troubled minds," Ardebil's prosecutor Naser Atabati was quoted as saying.

The girl, Atena Aslani, went missing in June after walking away from her street vendor father. Her disappearance prompted an outpouring of concern among Iranian’s social media users.

Prosecutors said that Jafarzadeh, who was already the prime suspect, confessed to her rape and murder shortly after her body was found by police in the garage of his house, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported.

President Hassan Rohani had described the case as "horrendous" and called for swift justice.

Amnesty International says Iran is among the world’s top executioners. Most of the executions are related to drug trafficking.

According to the rights group, Iran executed at least 567 people in 2016.

Based on reporting by AFP, ISNA and IRNA